From Hinault to Chavanel, Anquetil to Voeckler, French cycling is well-known for its colourful and often controversial characters. Playing host to the world’s biggest bike race, it is not difficult to see France’s influence on the sport, and the sport’s influence on France. Cycling heroes permeate French culture in a very big way – you even get French punks singing about Louison Bobet! Continue reading
It’s on, it’s off, it’s back on again. Yes, it’s the Tour Mediterraneen which was in danger of turning into a pantomime for its 39th edition. It’s the next French stage race following on from the weather-hit L’Etoile de Besseges. This time the racing takes place further east, in the Var, the Vaucluse and Bouches du Rhone. It starts on Thursday and finishes (again) on Mont Faron on Sunday. As you can see from the event poster, it’s supported by the local daily newspapers – the Nice and Var Matins. Please note, however, that the race starts on Thursday 9th February and not the day before.
The European season one-day opener, GP La Marseillaise, is quickly followed by the stage race L’Etoile de Besseges which, as its name suggests, is raced around the area of Besseges, a former mining town in the Gard department, part of the Languedoc Roussillon region. It too is supported by the La Marseillaise newspaper.
The 42nd edition of the five-day stage race starts tomorrow (Wednesday) and continues until Sunday. This year it features a split stage on the final day – a short road stage in the morning followed by an uphill time trial in the afternoon. Hoping to make it a bit more of a challenge for the sprinters, perhaps?